A language of Nepal

Alternate Names
Jiri, Jirial, Ziral

4,970, all users. L1 users: 4,830 (2011 census), decreasing. L2 users: 140 (2011 census).


Bagmati zone: Sindhupalchok district; Janakpur zone: Dolakha district, Jiri (main area) and Sikri valleys, eastern hills, Chhyatrapa; Lumbini zone: Nawalparasi district; Narayani zone: Parsa district.

Language Status

6b (Threatened). Language of recognized indigenous nationality: Jirel.


Accent differences, but not real dialects. Some comprehension of Lhasa Tibetan [bod] and some Tibetan dialects. Lexical similarity: 67% with Sherpa [xsr], 65% with Helambu Sherpa [scp], 62% with Dolpo [dre] and Loke [loy], 60% with Kyerung (Kyirong) [kgy], 57% with Nubri [kte], Lhomi [lhm], and Walungge [ola], 54% with Lhasa Tibetan [bod].


SOV; postpositions; genitives, demonstratives, adjectives before noun heads; numerals after noun heads; relatives before and without noun heads; content q-word in situ; polar question word final; maximum number of prefixes 1, maximum number of suffixes 4; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; affixes indicate case of noun phrases; ergative; causatives; no passives or voice; CV, CVC, V, VC; tonal.

Language Use

Home, friends. Some young people, all adults. Also use Eastern Tamang [taj], Nepali [npi], Sherpa [xsr], Sunwar [suz].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 25%–30% adults, 60% younger people (1991 census). People literate in Nepali [npi] can read Jirel. Literature. Dictionary. Texts. NT: 1992.


Devanagari script [Deva].

Other Comments

Buddhist, Christian, traditional religion.

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